When Norma Norris asked me ten years ago to help put together ONE reality tour I thought it was a great idea. Over those years I have volunteered and seen the faces of the children who never thought about the consequences of drug use, over and over and over.
When a group of "hard core" kids from an alternate education facility attend a tour and came up to us afterwards, with tears in their eyes, saying: "I want my sister/cousin/brother to see this program" and gave us hugs, I KNEW this was one of the most valuable programs available for young children.
I don't know how many lives this has saved, but if it saved ONE child from drug abuse, it's well worthwhile!
I was originally involved with the Westmoreland Reality Tour for about 1 year after the loss of my son (David Baughman) to a heroin overdose. In November of last year I took on the venture of bringing the program to the Latrobe Area. The Latrobe Reality Tour will cover the Latrobe, Derry and Ligonier School districts as the Westmoreland Reality Tour no longer has the capacity for our families. Our first tour will be on Wednesday September 17 at the Latrobe Municipal Authority. If I can help deter one child from going down that terrible road then my son's death was not in vain.
Mary Ann, Your journey is one that no one wants to take, but you handle each step with courage and faith. Because you didn't stay rooted in grief - as you would have been entitled to do - you are now reaching hundreds and most likely thousands with a family prevention message. David must be saying, "Way to go Mom." I read the article covering the start of the Latrobe Reality Tour under your direction and that of the Latrobe Rotary Club: (http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourlatrobe/yourlatrobemore/6888557-74/latrobe-program-reality?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+alltribstories+%28TribLIVE+News%29#axzz) Thank you for answering the call that was tugging on your heart. Norma Norris Executive Director CANDLE, Inc.
I have been volunteering for CANDLE, Inc./ Reality Tour through my on campus organization at Slippery Rock University of PA, Rock PRoductions, for about two years now and I recently started interning for them this fall semester. They have an amazing impact on families and that impact increases each day. Several months ago I attended Reality Tour on my own just to get a feel for how they run things and it far exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend ALL parents to take the time to go to Reality Tour with their kids!
I have been with CANDLE Inc. and The Reality Tour for a little over a year now. The countless lives I have seen impacted over that short time has been tremendous. I myself do not have children, but I recommend all of my friends with children 10 and up take their child to Reality Tour. The positive responses I receive back is astounding. So many parents and pre-teens / teens do not realize the severity drug abuse has on an entire family. The knowledge they gain at the tours is so profound, many change their entire thinking about ever trying drugs in the first place. This program should be in every school district and every county nationwide.
We have been working on bringing the Reality Tour to Russell, Ontario, Canada. Over the last few years I have noticed the increase in drug use amongst the youth in our community. Having two teenage children these statistics scare me to death! While in the States last summer I heared about the Reality Tour from some youth that had done the Tour. They said it was "life changing". There was nothing like this available to youth in Canada. We contacted Norma Norris and she is helping adjust a few things with the program to make it suitable for Canada. We are excited to be the first community in Canada to launch the Reality Tour. It is an amazing program!
I learned about REALITY TOUR two years ago and I love the program so much I am helping to start one in the Murrysville, PA, area! Every time I attend a TOUR, I gain more knowledge of the current dangers that illegal drugs and the abuse of prescription medications present to our children and our communities. I'm always surprised that the emotional power of REALITY TOUR continues to affect me no matter how many times I attend. I have young children, so my personal connection to videos and scenes at REALITY TOUR is strong. I never want to see these events unfold for my children or their friends and I'll do whatever it takes to help educate them and lead them in the right direction and help others in our community delay or stop experimentation that can lead to addiction. God Bless CANDLE Inc. for the work they are doing saving lives, families and communities. Once addiction sets in, there is no easy road back to "normal." Prevention -- specifically evidence-based prevention -- plays a vital role as the best way to fight the negative power of addiction and keep the drug trade out of our communities.
"Thank you so much for caring about our kids enough to show them how dangerous and easy it is to get involved with drugs & alcohol. Very informative and creative in helping our awareness." - Adult participant at the Indiana County Reality Tour in January 2010.
I wanted a share my personal story on how the Reality Tour impacted my family - even after several years. My children (a son and a daughter) and I were volunteers for the tour when it first started. At the time, my son was 15 and my daughter was 12, and they were members of the opening peer pressure scene. As time goes by, we all tend to forget the impact or significance of past involvements that at the time were so impactful and important to us when we were in the midst. However, the impact on the Reality Tour has been so beneficial to my children and my son, in particular - even several years later. Let me tell you why.....
My son is now 24 years - and reconnecting with some of his former friends from high school since returning from college. He shared with me some shocking news that some of his former class mates are experiencing with drugs, such as: LSD. I asked him what his thoughts were -- and here are his own words: 'I know the impact of drug usage. The Reality Tour taught me as a young teen the negative affect that drugs would have on my life - and I'll never forget it!'
What an amazing validation for the benefit of this program! It is truly a must-see for all pre-teens/teens and their parents. THANK YOU, Reality Tour for leaving such a lasting, postive impression on my children!
My name is Rob Fabriiz. I first experiened the Reality Tour when I was in 6th grade with my parents and younger brother, the program not only opened the door for my family to talk about the drug use that is all around us in school and in the streets but it also made me want to help out. I wanted to help bring this awareness to others. From that day forward I felt the need to help with the program. I took the role of being arrested one Tuesday night a month. As a teenager being involved with this program, it helped me not only be aware of the dangers of drug use but it helped me to look out for those around me . This program is a must see for every family, it helps to open the door for kids and partens to talk about drugs, it helps parents to be aware of what their kids face when it comes to the dangers of drugs and how easily available they are. I have recommended this program to all my friends. BEST PROGRAM EVER!!!!!
I am amazed by the powerful and lasting impression the Reality Tour is having in our community! We so much appreciate being a part of serving our community with this program and are hoping for future successes as Candle, Inc. continues to offer hope and education to individuals in our communities battling drug use and addiction.
Fayette County WV
The Butler Reality Tour is dedicated to educating both the parents and children of our community. As a volunteer, I see the commitment given to each part of the program and the love shown to each participant. Even though the leadership struggles with funding cuts to the program, the dedication to the families never falters. Innovative ideas and community/business support have helped to sustain this great program. As a retired public educator, I see the need and value in the Reality Tour and hope it's message continues to be spread throughout America!
Our tour (Norwin Reality Tour) started one year ago. We have had an incredible response from our community. We have had over 250 people attend from 9 area school districts. We have the full support of our local police and school district. I truly believe we are making a difference. Our reviews have been great! I am proud to be a part of the program.
Our County Child Death Review Team began the Reality Tour in 2007. We have the most dedicated volunteers that ALWAYS show up for team meetings and tours. It is because of the hard work of the organization CANDLE, Inc. in making such an easy to understand, comprehensive, and educational program available. It is our hope that this program impacts families in a very positive way.
My daughter attended the tour when she was in 6th grade. It impacted her so much that she wanted to volunteer. We have been doing so for the last 6 years. She is now on her way to college with the skills to stand up to peer pressure and make good choices. It has been a blessing to meet and work with all of the volunteers and learn from their stories.
Well I did not start off being a volunteer my daughter's classroom had teacher night at the Reality Tour so I decided to take both my girls and on top of this all I am a police officer so I thought it would be beneficial for my girls. After the program I was very moved to what impact it had on my girls and on myself and hope they learned what can happen to you when you make a decision about drugs. The night I went they usually have a police officer that gives a talk at the end of the session and that day we attended they did not have one and someone else who volunteers knew I was a police officer so at the end of the night they asked me to give the talk and that is how my youngest daughter and I started volunteering and it's going on 3 years now.
I took both my girls to the Reality tour my youngest was getting extra credit and let me say it opened up my kids eyes. Even though I am a police officer I also learned a few things that night. Since that evening it opened up for myself and my youngest daughter to volunteer on a monthly basis and help out. There are things that all parents need to know and the instructors are always up on what is around the corner next. Even if you pick up on 1 thing it all will have been worth it. I encourage you to go with your son/daughter it won't disappoint.
The Reality Tour is a very well thought out factual based program on substance abuse and what it can do to the individual who chooses to use. I find it very educational and believe it would benefit any child or parent who goes to the event. It shows the slow progression and no one is above substance abuse regardless of what walk of life they come from. Parents should take advantage of the opportunity to go to the event with there children.
The work Reality Tour performs is truly amazing! So many parents have told me how it has helped convince their children to avoid illicit drugs and users, provided so much important information, and even helped the relationship between the parent and child.
There is absolutely nothing similar in this area-it fills a huge void.
I have been a Reality Tour volunteer for the past 5 years, and never in my life have I been involved in a project more fulfilling! Our area is suffering from an epidemic of drug use, abuse, and overdoses as well as a record number of drug-related deaths. Knowing the work we do here is preventing young people from ever experimenting and saving them from this horrible disease is thanks enough! Amazing!
I volunteered at Reality Tour for a few years after the loss of my son to a heroin addiction. It is an amazing program. It is very fact based...shows actual consequences of drug use and gives you real life stories from individuals who have struggled with addiction. I only wish it had know about it sooner and it may of made a differnce in my sons outcome.
Our organzation used Reality Tour for the first time this year. It has been amaazing! All of our famiies gave positive reviews. We attracted families from all sectors of our community. It truely became a community project for us. Our first responders were our volunteers (police, fire, paramedics) and the employees from our morturary did the funeral scene. Having these professionals and their equipment brought the REAL in to Reality. The folks see the harsh reality of drug addiciton in our community. Being a part of this event provided them with a way to feel like they are making a difference and helping prevent some of the devistation of drugs.